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An executive’s guide to Mexico's capital.

Latin Trade Magazine

Insights and advice from Carlos D. Garcia, Latin American regional head for Novartis, and Laura McMahon, co-chair of Latin America Practice of Fulbright & Jaworski.

Latin Trade: What do you like most about traveling to Mexico City?
Garcia: No doubt my favorite part of going to Mexico City is reconnecting with old friends and indulging in the food.
McMahon: For me, traveling from Houston, it’s only a two-hour flight, so it’s easy to get there. The new international terminal is very nice; clearing immigration is easy.  The climate is wonderful. Except for the rainy season, the temperature is good. The restaurants are great. I have not been in a bad restaurant in Mexico City.

Latin Trade: What do you like least?
Garcia: Heading back to the hotel, at rush hour, stuck in Periferico o Viaducto. It rolls in the morning (we start early, when the city starts late), but is gridlock in the evening.
McMahon: Traffic. I was there recently during a demonstration at Paseo de la Reforma [one of the city’s main thoroughfares]. You had to spend double the time getting around. The flipside of that is that people are flexible about arriving late for appointments.

Latin Trade: What restaurants do you recommend?
Garcia: My favorite Mexican meal is breakfast (chilaquiles, huevos rancheros or machaca). The buffet at the Nikko is excellent, and the selection at the Four Seasons is, too. Regarding tacos, if you have the stomach for it, Copacabana, in Tlalpan by the Estadio Azteca, is a must. If you are going for the first time and want to experience some “safe” Mexican food, go to La Valentina, Hacienda de los Morales or San Angel Inn.
McMahon: There are three I like to go to: Izote. The food there is so interesting; it’s run by a woman [Patricia Quintana]. Pujol. They are very different. Estoril in Polanco. The service is great; it’s really close for business purposes and an easy restaurant to go to. All three have that Mexican [feel]. I like to go to restaurants with local origin.

Latin Trade: What are your preferred hotels when you are there on business?
Garcia: All the Polanco Hotels are fine, but my favorite is the Four Seasons (excellent value for money), and the GM is an old friend from his days in Miami.
McMahon: I am a bit of a fan of the Four Seasons or the JW Marriott.  Four Seasons has a beautiful courtyard, and the restaurant is great for breakfast meetings. Security is good. At the JW Marriott as well. They are in different locations, so depending on what I have to do, those are the favorites.

Latin Trade: What practical advice would you give to someone who is visiting Mexico City for the first time on business?
Garcia: Stay in Polanco, go easy on the salsa verde, and never hail a cab in the street.
McMahon: I would encourage people to take a few hours to see something [of the city]. There’s so much there, and it helps to get to know the culture and people. … The museums are wonderful, [as is] the old part of the city. It’s easy to get a driver who is also knowledgeable to take you around. I know there are security issues that have gotten worse the past two years, but like any city, be careful. I take the advice of my clients and colleagues and get a car from the hotel. If you’re not from there and look like you’re not from there, why take a chance? It’s a little expensive, but worth it.

This article originally appeared in the September/October issue of Latin Trade magazine.


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